UPSC Civil Services Prelims postponement plea: Live Updates
12.58 pm: Supreme Court dismisses the plea seeking for postponement of the UPSC examination. However, it has provided directions to the Centre to consider concessions for those aspirants who are on their last attempt.
12.55 pm: UPSC may issue directions to States to ensure that candidates with admit cards will be admitted in local hotels near sub-centres, directs SC in its order.
12.35 pm: Bench asks UPSC that whether a candidate can get another chance if he/she is unable to appear in exam now? ASG SV Raju says that another attempt is now allowed but he will put the suggestion forward. Raju also says that concessions regarding age will only be made for those who are on their last attempt and/or are about to cross the age-limit and cannot be made available to others.
12.24 pm: Bench asks Kaushik whether the suggestion of merger of 2020 and 2021 civil services examination can be adopted? Kaushik replies that it’s not possible to merge both exams as all OMR sheets and other exam material has already been dispatched.
12.23 pm: Kaushik submits that detailed precautions have been taken. From hand sanitizers, social distancing etc, all safety methods have been adopted.
12.19 pm: The Bench asks UPSC if they get requests for COVID aspirants overnight, will they be able to provide centres for these Covid-19 positive candidates? Kaushik says Covid positive patients are now allowed to travel.
12.14 pm: Adding further, Kaushik states, “We have even asked the Chairman of the Railway Board to issue suitable directions. We have further stated that CSE prelims 2021 will be delayed too. Not even a single instance of grievance has been received by us.”
12.09 pm: “We have written to all the Chief Secretaries of all States. We have requested that public transport should run at an optimum level during the exam and also till October 3. We have also given a complete list of Centres,” Advocate Kaushik informs the Bench.
12.08 pm: Advocate Naresh Kaushik appearing on behalf of USPC informs the Bench that he has not received any such representation and that he will verify the same again.
12.07 pm: “Is UPSC aware of the grievances for the officers who are not being given leave for the exams from COVID duty, specially COVID warriors? What arrangements have been made for them? the Bench asks Commission.
12.03 pm: Kapadia requests for concession for those whose last attempt remains for the exam, hotel accommodations, and centres for COVID positive students who may appear for the exam separately.
12.01 pm: The SC bench says UPSC prelims deferment cannot happen. This will have a cascading effect on other examinations.
12.00 pm: Advocate Anushree Kapadia making her submissions on behalf of a father of a Civil Services aspirant, says that students from rural areas have transport issues. The Bench says, “This is not new. This happens every where. Even due to climate, floods and students are not able to move out. Come out of your shell; you need to move out of your comfort.”
11.54 am: “All libraries, coaching institutions have been closed. And most candidates have been deprived of reading material. They’re totally handicapped. They should get equal opportunities to appear,” Shukla argues. The Bench says it’s an individual issue, hence can’t be considered a public issue.
11.50 am: Advocate Shukla says, “Some of the UPSC candidates are doctors, frontline Corona warriors, pregnant ladies who are still fighting”.” The Bench asks Shukla how many such candidates are there? Shukla replies, “Not exactly the details, but Petitioner No. 13 is a Corona warrior.”
11.47 am: “One of our main grievances was that the distance was a problem. The candidates would have to travel,” Shukla says. The Bench says that this argument was made in April. Now everything is unlocked. People can use the transport now.
11.46 am: “UPSC has submitted what arrangements have been made. If you want more security, argue on that. But, you cannot ask for postponement on the basis of the fact that some will not be able to give it,” the Bench says.
11.45 am: Advocate Shukla seeks postponement of UPSC exams and requests UPSC to be more humane.
11.42 am: The Bench says, “Don’t see ‘bent upon’, UPSC is duty bound. Use different words.
11.40 am: Senior advocate VK Shukla appearing on behalf of the petitioners states that the response of UPSC has been filed but it appears that the Commission is bent upon proceeding with the exam and they haven’t addressed our concerns.
On Monday, the apex court had directed Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to submit response as to why the Civil Services (Preliminary) examinations should not be postponed. The UPSC counsel objected to the plea for the deferment of the exams, as it would upset the schedule of the exams.
A bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari had asked the Union Public Service Commission counsel to file an affidavit by Tuesday. The bench will continue to hear the matter today i.e. September 30, 2020.
The plea, filed by Vasireddy Govardhana Sai Prakash and others through advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, sought that the Civil Services exam should be postponed for two to three months, as Covid-19 cases have been peaking currently and the curve may flatten in this time period.
The petitioners also cited incessant rains disrupting daily life in many parts of the country.
In the earlier hearing on the matter, the top court had said: “Liberty is granted to serve advance copy on the Standing Counsel for the Union Public Service Commission as well as on the Standing Counsel for the Central Agency representing Union of India through email/online.”
The plea contended that the exam, being a recruitment examination, is altogether different from an academic examination and thus in the event of its postponement, there would not be any question of delay or loss of any academic session.
“In the instant case, about 6 lakh aspirants (including the petitioners herein) are likely to appear in the captioned Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, which is a seven hours offline examination, in very few centres at 72 cities across India.
“Meanwhile, Covid-19 cases are increasing in India at an alarming rate of more than 80,000 cases per day,” said the plea.
The plea argued that the worst affected by the conducting the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination 2020, on October 4, will be the students belonging to the middle class or lower middle class.
“The privileged may still appear in these exams, without worrying about transport, accommodation, or other expenses. However, the under-privileged students will be forced to suffer utmost injustice and deprivations,” the petitioners contended.
The plea said the decision of the UPSC to conduct the exam, in this current scenario, violates the rights of the petitioners and those similarly situated, under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution.